An institute for critical education in the South Pacific

A ʻAtenisi picture

Meʻelaufola (2008)


E.L. 315 – Literature of Western Polynesia

The course opens with a thematic and stylistic analysis of Alfred Wendt’s depiction of Samoan expatriate life and romance, Sons for the Return Home. Through interpretation of Wendt’s debut novel and its cinematic adaption, students will wrestle with the conflict between traditional Polynesian values and those of pākehā New Zealand. The class will conclude with a review of Tales of the Tikongs, a satire on Tongan development by the late anthropologist ʻEpeli Hauʻofa.

HIST. 322 – Topics in 19th Century Tongan History

An interdisciplinary review of the reign of King George Tupou I, focusing on his military strategy and resulting achievements in politics, law, and religion.

PHIL. 240, 340 – Introduction to Logic

An introduction to systematic inference, with each module of the course addressing both formal and fallacious thinking. The class will cover inductive and deductive reasoning, syllogisms, contrapositives, converse and inverse statements, and Venn diagrams. Common fallacies will be studied through examples of incorrect logic.

PHIL. 350, 450 – Ethics

A systematic study of valid social behaviour comprising meta-ethics (i.e., ethical theory), normative ethics (i.e., methods for determining moral action), and applied ethics (i.e., ethics appropriate for specific theatres or domains). The course will initially review the often opposing ethical thought of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus, before focusing on political, scientific, and media ethics.

SP.L. 100 – Conversational Spanish

Introduction to Spanish as a foreign language – pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Development of communicative skills through the practice of communicative functions, including reading, writing, and dialogue.


POL STUD 315, 415 – Post-colonial Theory

A global survey of political and cultural theory applicable to post-colonial societies. It begins with a range of mid-20th century authors from the Middle East, Caribbean and Africa (Albert Memmi, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o), then moves on to late 20th century writers of the Pacific Islands (Epeli Hauʻofa, Albert Wendt, Kamisese Mara, Linda Tuhiwai-Smith). The course concludes with critical assessments of post-colonial thought by Australian analyst Stephanie Lawson and Tongan philosopher ʻI. Futa Helu.

SOC 300, 400 – History of Social Thought

The course surveys the evolution of sociological theory from its origin in the mid-19th century to the present. It initially examines the origin of systematic theory in the wake of the French Revolution (i.e., the "social physics" of Auguste Comte) and then proceeds to analyse the key contributions of Émile Durkheim and (the young) Karl Marx in France, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Karl Mannheim in Germany, Thorstein Veblen in the U.S., and Antonio Gramsci in Italy.

PAC. STUD. 422 – Topics in 19th Century Tongan History

An interdisciplinary review of the reign of King George Tupou I, focusing on his military strategy and resulting achievements in politics, law, and religion.


MEDIA 110, 310, 410 – Cinematography Practicum

Under professional supervision, students will attempt a short film demonstrating accessible narrative, dramatic exposition, strategic edition, and directorial vision. The work will then be evaluated from an aesthetic viewpoint by a multidisciplinary faculty committee.


BIOLOGY 320 – Marine Vertebrate Zoology

An in-depth study of vertebrates of the ocean, including the physiology and anatomy of aves, reptiles, pinnipeds, and cetaceans. The key functions of each vertebrate class – hunting, defending, migrating, feeding, nesting, mating, and birthing – are systematically described and, when accessible, observed. Special attention is paid to adaptation to biotic and abiotic components, including rising sea levels and temperature.

BIOLOGY 330 – Marine Invertebrate Zoology

A detailed survey of the over 30 phyla that, whilst lacking a vertebrate column, comprise most of macroscopic ocean life. Special attention is paid to the largest phylum, marine molluscs, that account for nearly a quarter of marine organisms. The course considers relationships between form and function, phylogeny, adaptations to the abiotic and biotic environment, and animal ecology.

BIOLOGY 390 – Nautical Practicum

Exploration of diverse marine environments on board the fleet of Pacific Sunrise, Tonga’s leading seafood retailer. Field excursions will be personally supervised by the fleet’s proprietor, a seasoned oceanographer. Students will be required to submit a log of each voyage, recording their direct observations of marine flora and fauna, as well as the mutable dynamics and appearance of the sea itself.

CHEMISTRY 230 – Marine Chemistry

An introduction to the basic chemistry of the oceans. The course will review the main chemical elements found in the sea, how they interact, and how they are affected by environmental circumstances like pressure, temperature, acidity, the atmosphere, and biological processes such as photosynthesis.

MATH 210, 310 – Mathematics for Development

The course focus on challenges of developing nations and how mathematics may be deployed to overcome specific difficulties. Units include growth models – linear, exponential, and logarithmic; application of regression to forecasting; and measuring inequality. Students will make extensive use of graphical and spreadsheet analysis.

MATH 280 – Database Management

The course serves as a manual for managing diverse information, including storage and retrieval, queries, filters, pivot tables, and reports. Students are encouraged to apply database techniques to their own vocational objectives.

MATH 325 – Marine Statistics

The quantification of marine phenomena, including variation of temperature, light, wind, wave movement, oxygen, and salinity. The course will next calculate the effect of environmental stress on selected examples of plant and animal life. Special attention will be paid to the measurement of specific deleterious agents, such as carbon dioxide and excessive warmth, as well as radioactive and industrial pollution.